Month in which Creation began by tradition / SAT 1-3-15 / Classic Harlem ballroom / Its last model was 1941 Skylark / Rosetta Stone figure / Dean's East of Eden role / Just for Men target / Rebellion colonial uprising / Liquor with slogan west of expected / Return of Doctor X star / Poet Howard who wrote Primer of Daily Round
Saturday, January 3, 2015
Constructor: Sam Ezersky
Relative difficulty: Easy
Word of the Day: HUPMOBILE (60A: Its last model was the 1941 Skylark) —
The Hupmobile was an automobile built from 1909 through 1940 by the Hupp Motor Company, which was located at 345 Bellevue Avenue in Detroit, Michigan. Its first car, the Model 20, was introduced to the public at the Detroit Auto Show in February 1909. The company initially produced 500 vehicles. […] In 1914, Eric Wickman tried to establish a Hupmobile dealership but couldn't sell them so he started transporting miners in one of the vehicles and founded Greyhound Lines. The National Football League was created at Ralph Hay's Hupmobile dealership in Canton, Ohio in 1920.
The Skylark's grille later inspired the grilles used on Lincoln Continental models in the 1940s. Their heater technology became widely adopted in the industry. The Hupmobile dealership in Omaha, Nebraska is a prominent historic landmark. The dealership building in Washington, D.C. is now the H Street Playhouse. (wikipedia)
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TONY DANZA" (3D: Boxer-turned-sitcom). I don't know how long ago he wrote this one. A while. But not that long, as he is only, like, 12 years old (he's a sophomore at UVA … sophomores are 12, right?). Anyway, I think he's only too aware of this puzzle's defects, and there aren't many, so I won't dwell on them. Let's just get them out of the way: the OLEIN / NERTS juxtaposition is unpretty. Ditto AINTI over IFY. ELUL VALS ENL is not a run of Downs anyone should aspire to replicate. I think that's all I got. Bottom half of the grid is much cleaner, even if it is, lamentably, DANZA-free. Overall, this was pretty snazzy. Lots of highly varied fill, much of it fresh and colloquial. OH I FORGOT, BY THE BY, HOLD ON A SEC, SAYS ME, all wonderful. Too bad it was so easy. I did this is at a very leisurely pace, taking time during the solve to write to Sam, and check Facebook … still solved it under 8.
First foothold was in a banal / ugly part (where footholds often are): the CDT / AINTI crossing (latter was a total inference). At that point, I saw the DANZA clue, and the "Z" alone gave me MOZZARELLA STICK. Honestly, I probably wouldn't have needed the "Z." MOZZARELLA STICK would've been my first guess. With that in place, grid opens up. Way up. Also, for inveterate solvers, ALAN ADALE is a gimme (16A: Merry Men member). I mean, on a platter. I know him *only* from crosswords, where his name is, let's say, grid-friendly. So he opened up the NE. SE was easy-ish because SAVOY was a gimme and therefore SKYYVODKA (36D: Liquor with the slogan "West of Expected") went in and ECO-something went in and LIVE RADAR went in. Only issue down there was TRASK, which I didn't know, but crosses worked it out. Finished in the SW, which was by far the hardest part, but wasn't, in the end, hard. If I'd ever heard of HUPMOBILE (60A: Its last model was the 1941 Skylark), it would've been much easier. Not knowing that answer made me have to work, but again, not much. BOTHA, OR OUT, GRIT, OBS … none of them hard. So, more teeth would've been nice, but this was still fun to solve. Very passable stuff.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
PS, one of the answers in today's puzzle reminded me of a puzzle I completely forgot to tell you all about—one you really should do, even though the "season" has passed: it's Erik Agard's Xmas Eve puzzle, "Gift Exchange." Get it here. Do it. Free. It's … unique. Coincidence: today's NYT constructor, Sam Ezersky, co-wrote Erik's puzzle. Then again, so did I. So did A Lot Of People. Check it out.